Tags: Arthur Miller, Desmond Dekker, Disabled, Discrimination, Douchebag, Down's Syndrome, Down-Syndrom, The Crucible, The Israelites
So Arthur Miller gave the world The Crucible, thank you. He divorced his wife Mary to be able to marry Marilyn Monroe the same month (June 1956), what ever. Happens all over the place. They filmed The Misfits together – I’ve not in any other MM movie seen the camera treat her with such disrespect. The scene where she plays with this ping pong toy (I have no name for it) and where the camera zooms in on nothing but her wiggling bum while (macsuline-voiced) bystanders cheer her on – enraging. Oh well. If Arthur Miller or Norman Mailer or Henry Miller do it, it’s art. Miller himself declared that shooting this film was the lowest point of his life – how is that for a good-bye present to MM whom he divorced before the premiere? MM OD’ed a year later. Not his fault or responsibility, of course.
Yet the thing that eventually makes me want to STRANGLE him if he weren’t dead already is that he had his son Daniel, born in 1966 with Down Syndrome, put in a home immediately and permanently straight after his birth. Arthur Miller is said to be the one who insisted – shame on the mother Inge Morath for agreeing to that as well. Daniel was excluded from their lives entirely – how’s that for a private witch hunt?
According to the Daily Mail, Daniel Day-Lewis, the husband of their daughter Rebecca, made him reunite with Daniel when his son had already turned 40 – although I am not quite sure how that would have worked out, as Daniel Miller turned 40 in 2006 and Arthur Miller died in 2005. In any case, if he saw him at all, it was pretty close to his own death.
By the way, another douchebag who exluded his son from his life is Desmond Dekker, the singer of “The Israelites”. I know because Lenina and I celebrated Christmas with his son Desmond, called Desy, in 2000. Desy is a musician and DJ who needs a wheelchair and the help of a personal assistant to help him get around – seemingly too much for Desmond Snr to cope with. He looks very much like his father who died in 2006. This might be his Myspace-Profile – at least he looks like Desy. Dr Lenina, please advice!
Tags: Books, movie, Novel, Unread books
Jetsam tagged me, and now I have to go through this list of seemingly 106 books and reveal whether I have read them or not. I have to mark them in the following way:
Bold what you have read, italicize your DNFs (‘did not finish),
strikethrough the ones you hated, and put asterisks next to those you read more than once.
I will appear terribly illiterate after doing this, and even more so because I will introduce a new symbol: I’ll put an WTM next to the ones that I watched as movie or TV series.
Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose WTM
Don Quixote WTM
Moby Dick WTM
Pride and Prejudice WTM
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World ***
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange WTM
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Gulliver’s Travels WTM
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
The Sound and the Fury
The God of Small Things
A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The unbearable lightness of being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame WTM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Gravity’s Rainbow DNF
In Cold Blood
White teeth WTM
The Three Musketeers
Well, I AM barely literate. But at least I haven’t read Mists of Avalon (unlike all of my female relatives) – it might even be not half as bad, but the cover was so off-putting I didn’t want to be caught reading it.
Tags: encouragement, happy bunny, Reading
Yesterday my first exclusive*) reading took place, organized by two friends and colleagues of mine. If these friends didn’t exist, and had I not mentioned the fact that I write to them, then I doubt that I would ever have submitted anything to a writing competition. I would not have been invited to Berlin and Brandenburg and of course the reading would not have taken place either. Thank you again, Susanne and Greg, for making this possible! I’m a very happy bunny right now:-)
I read the piece that I had submitted to the writing competition and another one, a new one. I was nervous only for seconds, and then found it surprisingly easy to read to this audience of approximately 20-25 people. Putting on the author’s persona was facile, it was so easy that I even managed to entertain the audience in the break between the two pieces that I read. But the best part was the feedback I got from the audience after the reading, the personal feedback, the many encouraging words I received that asked me to keep writing, the thoughts that people offered about the texts and what they had stirred in them. Yes, I am really determined to turn at least one of these pieces into a novel soon:-)
*) Exclusive in the sense of: nobody else was reading, and the people that came had come because they had received an invitation with my name and face on it.
Tags: Brandenburg, Female, writers
This is day 4 of the women writers’ forum, and day 2 of our stay in Rheinsberg, Mark Brandenburg. We are residing in an old manion on the first part of the lake, or rather the belt of lakes as their are all connected. Very interesting. It is still apparent that this is a historically challenged region, not only because of the 40 years of being part of the German Democratic Republic. The older houses which you can see here are often teeny-tiny (the mansion and the palace of course are relatively huge) and I can imagine that living here permanentally may be quite suicidal. But I’m here with a mission and the weather is more than gorgeous, so I have no reasons to complain:-)
One thing one could complain about: The Brandenburg session started with 60 one-minute lectures, with each of the writers presenting a teeny-tiny portion of their work. Apart from those regular 60 participants, there are the organizers, all of which published authors, who were scheduled to read in the evening. 8 of them, and 10 minutes for each. But, boy, bitches! The first one hogged the limelight for an incredible 23 minutes, the second one went up to 20 minutes, and both presented work that would have benefitted greatly if they had kept it shorter – essayistic, Joyce-esque writing and semi-automatic poems. Only two of those organizers stayed within the limit of 10 minutes they had imposed upon themselves – the others seemingly had the impression that they deserved more, dragging out the whole event to last 3 instead of the scheduled 2 hours.
Other than that: I left my drama workshop and joined the faction workshop, which was definitely a wise decision, in particular after having witnessed the performance of the lady in charge of drama. More about that later, maybe, gotta rush back to the theatre.
Tags: Feminine, Marlene Streeruwitz
On the 2nd day of the women’s writer forum, Marlene Streeruwitz spoke in a so-called panel discussion – why they called it a panel discussion I don’t know. The other woman who was invited to join the panel did not say anything substantial, but instead kept asking Marlene insidious, stupid questions (such as: “when is the female writer happy?” arf) or said banal things about her novels (“I find it difficult to identify with your characters”). I think the “discussion” lasted about an hour (with a moderator also taking a seat on stage) and I enjoyed every little piece that Mrs Streeruwitz said. I am unable to reproduce any of it, the general topic was ‘happiness’ and ‘feminine writing’ (as expected – but with a different twist), and the first thing that pleased me was her laid-back, almost cheerful manner – nothing of the slightly frustrated feminist that I thought to have noted the day before. She used the words ‘hegemony’ and ‘hegemonial’ about 20 times, and I doubt that only half of the people in the room understood what she was talking about, but it spoke to me and I drank all her words. She shook off all those banal questions and gave long, but elaborate and witty,often even funny responses – I am really looking forward to hearing more from her in the days to come.Btw: She also completed a PhD recently, at an American university – I need to find out with whom and about what exactly and add the info to Wikipedia.
So they’ve got internet here in Berlin! 20 minutes in the hotel cost 1 Euro, but I couldn’t resist. The opening event yesterday was both interesting, kind of what I expected and kind of bette than what I feared. Marlene Streeruwitz gave a smart opening lecture, whilst at the same time sounding quite frustrated – not a surprise to see that happend to some feminists. The text that won the first prize… would have never received my first prize, a gothic tale about a man with one normal abled arm and a hook on the other one (question of realism – that is just not done anymore, certainly not in German speaking countries) who jerks off sitting by the pool, watching his daughter and a girl-friend coming to visit…. complete with tiny ‘continuity errors’ such as “he folded his hands above his stomach” – how is he supposed to do that if one hand is an iron hook?
Other than that, the quality of my spam is going up:
I’m Shweinz, great resourse, and anaj.wordpress.com is a pretty looking domain name 🙂
hope to find interesting people here! Also I find that category “this” is very useful )))
A little bit about me – I like swimming, playing secrets to playing slots , volleybal, basketball, grandonline casino and of course computer gaming and playing poker dice
Good buy all!
Tags: Books, Reading
So it happened. I am suddenly no more interested in blogging. This has a lot to do with the lack of a computer and working internet connection at home of course. It happens just like that. But today my new computer is supposed to arrive – let’s see whether this changes anything. I hope they deliver it to me in person – I am always conscious about things disappearing in this place that pretends to be a university. Other than that: No news yet from the museum guy – but who’d expect that really (it’s a hope nonetheless). Tired today because I read until half past three both last night and the night before. I’ve been noticing for a while now that I seem to be able to read again, and in particular: read fast. Although: It was a 600 pages novel by Olivia Goldsmith – authof of The first wives club who died from complications from plastic surgery, my God, what a way to die (in particular since the book I read, Bestseller, was among other things about a face-lifted women’s novels writer, and she didn’t make her look good) – meaning that my newly retrieved ability to focus on the printed word extends only to things that I do NOT HAVE to read, for either study or work – the problem started around 2001 I think, when reading became de riguer for finishing my degree. I am actually almost addicted to reading right now, and willing to read ANYTHING I can lay my hands on. On Friday, I bought, seven books on the flea market, for one Euro each.
_a Henning Mankell, return of the dancing instructor or something like that (which I gave to one of the cleaning ladies right I way – I have an allergy towards bookclub hardcovers; but surprisingly not to cheap paperbacks of slush).
_the mentioned Olivia Goldsmith (in English)
_D.H. Lawrence: Women in Love (in English)
_a Knut Hamsun
_a book by Loriot, ‘little prose’
_a non-fiction book about Jewish belief and religion
_and Karl May‘s Der Schut:-)
Tags: Dichter, Dramatiker, Hans Sachs, Meistersinger, Nürnberg, Neuzeit, Poet, Poetry, Schuhmacher, Spruchdichter
Heute ist mir nach einem deutschen Post zumute, wie auch anders, wenn mir Hans Sachs, der wortgewaltige Sprücheklopfer der frühen Neuzeit zwischen die Finger gerät:
Der Hans Sachs, der war ein Schuh-
macher und Poet dazu.
O-Ton Hans Sachs. Wer kennt ihn noch? In der Volkstanz- und Trachtengruppe meiner Mutter ist er wohlbekannt, dort spielen die aktiven Mitglieder (50-60jährig) den passiven Mitgliedern (70-90jährig) alljährlich am Dorfabend ein Hans-Sachs-Stück vor, dieses Jahr Das Kälberbrüten Selbiges Stück wurde auch schon Mitte der siebziger aufgeführt, wie Fotodokumente bezeugen, und sicherlich auch in der Zwischenzeit. Was allerdings kein gerechtfertigter Anlass zum Unken ist, auch nicht, dass die späteren Meistersinger ihr Regelwerk zur Beurteilung so streng angewendet haben, dass die Kunst im Keim erstickt wurde (mehr dazu in Wagners Meistersingern von Nürnberg).
108 Schauspiele, ca. 1800 Spruchgedichte und 4275 Meisterlieder soll der singende Schuhmacher verfasst haben – ein Meisterlied war ein Lied, dessen Text und Melodie der Autor selbst verfasst hatte, um es beim Zunfttreffen vorzutragen. Hauptsächlich Handwerker schlossen sich den Meistersingerzünften an – welch ein Luxus und wie schön wäre es, wenn Handwerk und Bildung im direktesten Sinn der Menschenbildung auch heute noch zusammenspielten:-)
Ich selbst liebäugele ja mit der Idee des Einrichtens einer Toastmaster Gesellschaft, auch wenn mir derzeit die kulturellen Ressourcen dazu fehlen. Zudem müsste ich mich in einer Gegend wohnhaft befinden, in der ich etwas von dem mir Angeeigneten an meine Umgebung und Umwelt zurückgeben wollte, und das ist hier derzeit nicht der Fall (würde ich auf dem Dorf wohnen, auf dem Mutter wohnt, würde ich wohl bald dem Volkstanz beitreten, um dort ebenfalls Hans-Sachs-Spiele zu spielen, aber ein solcher Umzug ist auch sehr sehr unwahrscheinlich in irgendeiner Zukunft)
Da in unseren Zeiten die Frage des Im Beruf Erfüllung Findens eine gar übermächtige spielt, wäre das nicht ein schöner Gedanke: Dienst ist Dienst und Schnap ist Schnaps, den Schuhmacherleisten am Tage und des Abends die Meistersingerzunft! Schon allein der Gedanke einer regelmäßigen Einkommensquelle, die einem erlaubt, die Freizeit zu verbringen mit ergötzlicheren Dingen wie der Wer war eigentlich Hans Sachs? erscheint mir wunderbar. In diesem Lichte bin ich immer noch erleichtert, dass ich den Doktoratsversuchungen nicht erlegen bin, wer braucht das legitime kulturelle Kapital? (Billige rhetorische Frage, den mit einem M.A. steh ich ja auch nicht als Waisenkind da).
Zurück zum Kälberbrüten: Ein ungeschickter Bauer, kaum ist die Bäurin aus dem Haus, lässt den Hof verkommen, die Katze das Fleisch fressen, das Kraut verbrennen, das Schwein in den Garten und das Kalb im Brunnen ertrinken. Vor Räue versucht er, es wieder gut zu machen – indem er einen Käse bebrütet. Bei den Eiern klappts ja auch. Die Bärtin hält ihn nun gänzlich für vom Teufel besessen und schafft es mit dem Pfarrer ihn von seinem Käsenest herunter zu holen:
Mein Hans, was wollst du brüten aus?
(schreit, zeigt ihm einen Käse und spricht)
Kälber! Seht’s Wahrzeichen wohl,
Der Käs, der steckt von Maden voll,
Unten und oben, hinten und vorn;
Das wären eitel Kälber worn,
Hätt’ ihr mich nit davon gerissen.
Hans, ich wollt’ gern von dir wissen,
Wer dich die Kunst gelehret hat.
Furcht, Sorg’ und Angst mich lehren tät,
Welche ich hatt’ zu meiner Frauen.
Sag’ uns die Wahrheit, laß’ uns schauen
Wie sich solch’ alles zugetragen.
Die Sach’ mag ich euch gerne sagen:
Doch daß ich sicher vor dir sei!
Ja, du sollst sein quitt, ledig, frei,
Ich muß doch sein mit dir erschlagen.
Das Fernsehen der frühen Neuzeit:-))) Den ganzen Text gibt es beim Projekt Gutenberg. Schöner sind die Texte bei den Wikicommons, da in Originalsatz erhalten, aber da gibt es das Kälberbrüten nicht. Aber auch hübsch: Der schwangere Pawer (der schwangere Bauer).
Tags: 2004, Elfriede, Elfriede Jelinek, Nobel Prize, Nobel Prize winner
And for a brief moment I thought I had discovered Elfriede Jelinek‘s blog. Why, after all, should she not have one, forefront thinker, Nobel Prize winner after all? Amazing enough: She’s going to turn 61 this year. Can’t be, she’s pegged in my mind as a perpetual 40 (image to the left shows her in 2000, age 53, and still she looks like 40).
The thing about Elfriede: I am glad I do not (have to) write the way or the stuff she does. Although I LOVE the way she writes (but would be unable to defend it). I can see and measure the depths from which she is reporting, but I wouldn’t want to go down there myself. I think I’d lose my mind. It is a selfish approach, but whenever I read a piece by her, I disregard the literary message and try to relate to the person behind the text. That is what interests me most, her texts are barriers, and I have never been particularly impressed by those barrier-type texts (think: Ingeborg Bachmann, that other Austrian writer, which, if you would forgive me, I was never able to make sense of), but I always imagined to have a vague sense of the person BEHIND those texts. I would so much like to meet her one day, but of course that is not very likely. And meet her the way I’d like to meet her is completely ruled out: a friendly conversation about nothing in which we would have to have some OTHER thing to look at, to distract us and deflect our conversation from the actual encounter. This year’s opera ball would have been a splendid opportunity, we could have made fun of Paris Hilton and have used these jokes as a foot path to deeper conversations… just a dream of course.
And now I found her ‘blog’, but only to discover that it is none. Her so-called blog is hosted on a really sweet compuserve address, http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/elfriede/. In spite of the name of the address, it does not reveal a single word of her, it all stays carefully fictional. Worst of all, it specifies email@example.com as contact address – rowohlt being one of the key German publishing houses. Dream on, my soul – there are thousands of women (probably not too many men) writers out there who would love to establish personal contact with Elfriede – and it’s just not gonna happen that easy. And of course she (or her publisher) are going to protect any of her words in as much as possible.
But deep inside myself, I hope that she has an anonymous blog where she doesn’t present herself as a Nobel prize winning author, but where she simply writes about the boring things that happen in any blogger’s life (and how cool would it be if found that blog:-)
Tags: 5-alpha-reductase, eugenides, gender disorder, identity, Intersex, Intersexuality, Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
I finally continued reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Middlesex. I had been a bit disappointed by it, because I had expected something more outspokenly political, something to advocate the case of intersexuality. It takes the novel forever to get to that topic though, with the story beginning with the protagonist’s grandparents, Greek brother and sister declaring themselves husband and wife on their journey to America in the 1920s, then covering the story of father and mother, both cousins, and finally arriving at what I had hoped to be the key topic way after half of the novel. I had finally decided to skip everything I wasn’t interested in – the passages told from the perspective of the grown-up character who had decided to live as a male were the ones that interested me most.
Of course one could also argue that it was laudable of Eugenides to _not_ dwell on the intersex issue too much, in order not to sensationalize the topic. And he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction anyway, so who am I too complain.
Lying down with the flu I took to the novel again, this time reading everything I had skipped previously (I have tons of student assignments to correct, but when I am ill reading these just seems to be so much more strenuous), finally arriving at the chapters that cover Calliope’s teenage years when here condition, 5-alpha-reductase-deficiency, was finally discovered. To put the effects of this condition in a nutshell: The protagonist is genetically male (XY), but with no developed male genitalia in utero, due to this very deficiency. The individual begins to virilize only during puberty, the testicles, hitherto hidden within the body, begin to descend and a penis (up to this point only a slightly larger clitoris) begins to grow. What doesn’t grow are breasts, and no menstruation sets in, as there are no ovaries or uterus. The fact of the individual being taken for female at birth mostly have to do with the absence of a proper penis or testicles.
What happens most of the time, if patriarchy (which only accepts full penises) and cosmetic surgery (the proof that man can change whatever he wishes) have their way, is that these individuals are then medically feminised: through surgery and hormones. The mere thought of it makes me angry and what the novel was good at was showing how and why a teenager can easily be coerced into NOT disagreeing with patriarchy’s and surgery’s wish – how is a thirteen or fourteen year old who hitherto thought of herself as a female, supposed to decide anyway? How many people do only find out after puberty that they are interested in the same sex? Once the penis has been removed, of course, it’s gone, and the personality and psyche irrevocably damaged – the main point of the operation seems to be to set parents and society at ease to whom the thought of ambiguous genitalia is plainly unbearable.
The same destiny seemed to be awaiting Calliope – but Eugenides regained my favour just in time by allowing Calliope to escape surgery. YES! Maybe for his research, I wondered, he had also stumbled upon this case reported by a Dr. Reddy in Hyderabad, India, which describes a case of surgical and hormonal “correction” in a case of 5-alpha-reductase-deficiency, using exactly the same irritating lines of argument that Eugenides’ Dr. Luce used to describe Calliope:
A diagnosis of 5 alpha reductase deficiency syndrome was made after detail workup. Patient was counselled and in view that the patient was brought up as a female, decision of orchidectomy was done on 18.6.02. Postoperatively patient was fine and discharged on day 5 on ethinyloestradiol and asked to follow up on OPD basis. Cliteroplasty and urethral reconstruction was advised after a period of 1 year. The geneticist is responsible for verifying the karyotype and discussing with the family the autosomal dominant sex-linked nature of 5-ARD, which includes the recurrence risk of 1:8 for each subsequent pregnancy (50% of XY foetuses) and the potential for prenatal diagnosis.
Orchidectomy = removal of the testicles (Orchid = testicle). Oh, this makes me sooooo angry! For as long as mankind exists, such phenomena have occurred and even made their way into mythology as Hermaphroditus. But give mankind cosmetic surgery, and they’ll erase whatever might put them off ease!
👿 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿
Tags: Flu, Ill, Obituary, Satire, Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday, according to Wikipedia “after a fall several weeks prior resulted in irreversible brain injuries.” I’ve got a copy of Slaughterhouse Five which I never finished reading. I think I was 14 when I bought it and somehow didn’t get the point of it. Maybe this would be a good time to try again.
If I ever stop coughing the stuff I am coughing right now, that is. I’ve got a fully-fledged flu now, although I got the flu shot.
Tags: Break, Easter, Holiday, House of Mirth
In three hours I’ll be off to Upper Austria to meet up with my boyfriend there. I’ll give myself a blog break in the meantime. You should too: give your self some sort of break, from something. Compulsory reading, for instance;-)
I’m facing a six hour train ride now during which I’ll either sleep (very likely – I didn’t sleep at all last night, but worked on a last minute equality paper) or read the House of Mirth. I’m worried now that Lily might either end up as a charwoman herself one day, or that she’ll have to marry Sim Rosedale. And it seems pretty unavoidable now that Gus Trenor is going the put the moves on her, and that’ll turn her sole friend Judy into her enemy. *Schnief*
P.S. Please mind the post below!
Tags: Ancient, Greek, Phaedrus, Philosophy, Plato, Socrates
SOCRATES: Yes, because there’s something odd about writing, Phaedrus, which makes it exactly like painting. The offspring of painting stand there as if alive, but if you ask them a question they maintain an aloof silence. It’s the same with written words: you might think they were speaking as if they had some intelligence, but if you want an explanation of any of the things they’re saying and you ask them about it, they just go on and on forever giving the same single piece of information. Once any account has been written down, you find it all over the place, hobnobbing with completely inappropriate people no less than with those who understand it, and completely failing to know who it should and shouldn’t talk to. And faced with rudeness and unfair abuse it always needs its father to come to its assistance, since it is incapable of defending or helping itself.
Plato: Phaedrus. Translated by Robin Waterfield. Oxford University Press 2002, p. 70.